Time is up for volume greenfields destruction

Green Party member Lucy Phillip outlines the Eco Planning Law petition, calling for support to challenge the Government’s failure to protect our rapidly disappearing greenfields.

Lucy Phillip

We thought maybe Michael Gove had listened, but sadly, as revealed in the Queen's Speech a few weeks ago, the Government has completely failed to take this late chance to protect our rapidly disappearing greenfields – farms, nature, wildlife, our vital countryside – from over-development.  

The Green Party fully understands the Climate and Nature crises looming, and the urgency to make laws to stop the plundering and destruction of our natural resources – protecting nature and cutting carbon fast. 

People are coming forward in their tens of thousands exposing the volume destruction of the greenfields and natural spaces by developers who currently hold so much of the power. 2000 houses here, 5000 there, more farms and beautiful walking areas obliterated, more ancient badger sets and birds nests destroyed, more mature trees cut down, whole valleys concreted over to build estates of 10,000 houses. 

There is a total disregard for the declared environmental crises. Developers are still building as if we know no better – because they can get away with it. They are working towards the maximum profit they can make just within the law – mature trees, hedgerows, ancient woodlands, distinct and sustainable communities and natural heritage are not their concern. They’re only a temporary hinderance, before they bulldoze it all out of the way with no regard for the animals who also live there.  

We need to make it their concern. We need a radical and urgent overhaul of the Planning Law so builders are made to build sustainably – in build design, in location, and in scale: 

  • Low Energy homes (Passivhaus)
  • Ban volume Greenfields development
  • Brownfield tax priority 
  • Carbon sink covenants – for farms, mature trees and hedging 

Every new building must be to the Passivhaus standard – creating low energy (and low bill) homes. This means roof solar panels, high-grade insulation, and rainwater harvesting, making environmentally low impact new homes and buildings. Green homes for the most in need. 

Somewhere between the Government's inflated housing targets and their bullying tactics for making local councils accept over-development on their local plans (or lose any little say in the building at all), the million-pound backhanders they receive directly from the developers, and the developers profiteering self-aggrandisement, we are all paying too high a cost – the destruction of our natural environment – one which we can no longer afford. 

We have lost 97 per cent of our wildflower meadows and flying insects are down 60 per cent – all life on earth depends upon them. Wildlife numbers are in free fall, and our food security is ever more vulnerable.   

The climate crises have rightly been declared – and yet the Government continuously waves through more mass natural habitat destruction. These are not affordable homes for those most in need – they are “executive” homes marketed to foreign investor markets, and are financial assets to those making them, those investing in them, and those allowing them. 

Volume developers exist to make their billions to all of our detriment – we need to give them new legislated rules to stop the mass building over our vital countryside. We need all the mature trees we have, and we must cut carbon fast. 

We need every single farm we have to ensure we can depend on our own food, we need every natural space for our mental health, we need bees and wildlife. 

The electorate has woken up – 60,000 people have signed the national petition to stop this. There is a new better way – but it has to be made into law – otherwise, the big changes we need won’t be made.

We are already in the red for nature and its resources to support our life on earth. There needs to be urgent bold Eco planning law change, to legally put nature at the centre of all decisions. 

The solutions are already available to enable environmental home building, on a sustainable sensitive scale to existing communities. 

We demand the Government follow their Climate Emergency declaration of 2019, by extending the scope of the Climate Change Act 2008, in creating a new Eco planning law.

60,000+ voters have signed the petition to halt harmful housing, and we’d like to hit 100,000 so we can force a debate in Parliament. Please sign, share and be a part of this pivotal environmental campaign.